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Help! I’m Addicted to Stardew Valley

By: burgundy bug

Stardew Valley title screen

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is the critically acclaimed independent farming simulator and role playing game that I have (quite unsurprisingly) not been able to put down over the last two weeks.

Developed by Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone and initially published by Chucklefish, Stardew Valley became available on Steam for Microsoft Windows PCs in February of 2016.

Since it’s release, Stardew Valley has become available on Steam for both Mac OS X and Linux platforms. The game is also available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, as well as iOS.

From the beginning, Stardew Valley has been incredibly well-received, accruing Overwhelmingly Positive reviews and selling over 3.5 million copies on Steam by the end of 2017. Metacritic has given the game an 89, with an average user score of 8.6/10.

Now, you may be wondering…

Why the Hell Did You Sleep on Stardew Valley for so Long, bug!?

Trust me, I’ve had my hankering to give Stardew Valley a go in the back of my mind since it’s release. However, it was just bad timing. Despite a lifelong love for video games, I cut back on my playtime quite a bit in the last few years. I believe in 2016 and 2017, World of Warcraft was the only game I had really dedicated myself to.

Even still, I don’t always find myself making the time to play video games, despite wanting to. It’s sort of like my shelves of books – I so desperately desire to read all of them, but life happens. Thus, some matters take priority over reading René Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy or playing video games like Stardew Valley.

Besides, better late than never, right?

Help! I’m Addicted to Stardew Valley

In the midst of some holiday spirit inspired by Steam’s infamous Winter Sale, Stardew Valley caught my eye. At a 25% discount, I was able to pick up the game for $11.24 – but it only cost me $2.24, as I had had $9 left over from a gift card given to me earlier in the year.

For the price of a cup of coffee, how could I continue to deny myself an adventure in the wonderful world of Stardew Valley?

The Plot

Stardew Valley Trailer

Source: Stardew Valley Trailer by ConcernedApe

After you’ve customized your very own farmer, you begin your life in The Valley on a farm with a few old tools you’ve inherited from your grandfather. This introductory scene is very reminiscent to that of installments in the main Animal Crossing series.

In fact, much of Stardew Valley is laden with inspiration from similar series within the life simulation genre, such as Animal Crossing and most obviously Harvest Moon. In an interview with GQ, sole-developer ConcernedApe discusses titles that influenced him throughout his adolescence, noting that Harvest Moon stuck with him and served as the basis for Stardew Valley.

“I liked that you could have relationships with the townsfolk, and even get married and start a family. That was something you couldn’t do in most games I played as a kid, and it made the experience much more personal. That you were living in a world that felt alive.”

Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone to GQ in March 2018

With Stardew Valley, ConcernedApe accomplished just that. The player is immediately immersed in a world that feels alive.

Features

Don’t let it’s beautifully simple Earthbound-esque graphics pull the wool over your eyes. Stardew Valley is far more than just a farming simulator. Some of it’s features, listed on the official Stardew Valley website, include:

Create the farm of your dreams: Turn your overgrown fields into a lively and bountiful farm!


Learn to live off the land: Raise animals, go fishing, tend to crops, craft items, or do it all! The choice is yours…


Become a part of the local community: Pelican Town is home to over 30 residents you can befriend!


Meet someone special: With 12 townsfolk to date, you may even find someone to start a family with!


Explore vast, mysterious caves: Encounter dangerous monsters & valuable treasures deep underground!


Customize: There are hundreds of character & home decoration options to choose from!

Source: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a rich, in-depth RPG most notable for the meaningful interactions between the player and the residents of the valley, customization, as well as how much there is to explore.

I mean, seriously, the map is huge. Outside of your own farm, there are five main areas: Pelican Town, The Beach, The Desert, Cindersap Forest, and The Mountain.

Map of Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

It is also worth noting you are given the option to select what kind of farm you would like as you’re starting the game. There are five different farm plots to choose from: Standard Farm, Riverland Farm, Forest Farm, Hill-Top Farm, as well as a Wilderness Farm.

As you can see in the above screenshot, I have selected the Riverland Farm for tegridy – which yes, is named after Randy Marsh of South Park‘s Colorado Farm, Tegridy.

Standard, Riverland, Forest, Hill-Top, and Wilderness Farm Maps

Source: Farm Maps | Official Stardew Valley Wiki

My Experience with Stardew Valley

Farmer bug’s save file

Stardew Valley

As I am writing this review, I am on the 25th day of Spring during my second year as farmer bug of tegridy with 17,767g and over 33 hours of playtime logged.

I picked this game up on the first day of the Steam Winter Sale on Dec. 20 in the midst of reviewing Suits: a Business RPG. Needless to say, my review of Suits has (unfortunately) taken the back burner due to the insatiable urge to launch Stardew Valley every time I log in to my Steam account.

I am in no way shape or form surprised by the fact that managed to I rack up my first 20 hours within four days of making my purchase. Afterall, I’m a perfect candidate for Stardew Valley mania. As I’ve briefly mentioned my track-record with Animal Crossing before, I practically lived through those games during my childhood and early adolescence. In the past, I have also found myself hooked on Harvest Moon, Sims 3, Minecraft, and Starbound, another game published by Chucklefish.

Why is Stardew Valley so Addicting?

Well, putting aside the aesthetic that draws you in and just how captivating the Stardew Valley is, the game itself is incredibly rewarding. Similar principles apply to MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft. Yes, while there is a bit of a “grind” aspect to the game, it only makes the payoff all the more worthwhile.

Except, unlike traditional MMORPGs, you set the pace of “the grind” in Stardew Valley. Sure, there are quests to fulfill, special holidays, and other sequences that further the plot of the game, but the intensity and repetitiveness of your day-to-day responsibilities on the farm are entirely at your own discretion.

Don’t like watering your crops? Don’t plant so many (or take advantage of features such as the Basic Retaining Soil and Sprinklers to reduce time spent watering). Not a fan of fishing? You don’t really have to. Want to spend an entire season making your way through the mines? Not a problem!

In addition to the reward of a successful farm, refining your fishing skills, or making it to the bottom of the mine, there is also the heartfelt social aspect to Stardew Valley.

Having a Social Life in Stardew Valley

As ConcernedApe said during his interview with a reporter from GQ, the relationships in Harvest Moon and the ability to get married was one of the main features that really resonated with him. He said it made the games feel much more personal.

Paralleling Harvest Moon, you are able to develop meaningful relationships within the valley and marry one of 12 bachelors or bachelorettes (same-sex marriage is supported in game).

As you interact with these characters, personal information about them is unveiled through heartwarming cut scenes triggered by different events and circumstances as you play. Stardew Valley gives the player an incredibly personal – and perhaps even emotional – experience by capitalizing on real world issues the residents of the valley are facing, including substance abuse and depression. Building relationships with these characters is interesting and very gratifying.

In Conclusion

Stardew Valley is a very rewarding (and as a result, highly addictive) indie farming simulator reminiscent of games such as Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. This immersive, heartfelt RPG is available for just $15 on a number of platforms including PC, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, as well as iOS.

If you’ve ever found a lick of enjoyment in Minecraft, The Sims, Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, or even tycoon games that dominated the early 2000’s such as Zoo Empire and Roller Coaster Tycoon, I highly recommend giving Stardew Valley at least five minutes of your time. You can thank or heckle me later when that five minutes turns to five hours in one sitting via The Burgundy Zine contact form.


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burgundy bug

https://burgundyzine.com/about/#burgundybug

The bug behind the blog… An absurd romanticist with an affinity for existential humor, burgundy bug‘s content tends to focus on the more psychological and political end of the spectrum. Although her style tends to be a bit more biased, burgundy bug is no stranger to reviews, either.

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